CLEVELAND – For those whose Saint Patrick’s Day diet plans include a little more "green", a recent study says that it might be a good idea to include more of the leafy kind.
Cleveland Clinic’s James Leverenz, M.D., did not take part in the study, but said the research shows that eating more leafy greens could potentially slow the aging of the brain.
“What they found was those who took in more leafy greens in their diet – about one and a half portions a day versus those who had less than a half portion a day – had a slower decline in memory as they aged,” he said.
The study examined food questionnaire data from a sample of 960 individuals.
Researchers said that nutrients such as folate, lutein and nitrate that are found in foods such as spinach, lettuce and kale were likely to credit for the association with slower brain aging.
Dr. Leverenz said that other lifestyle factors, such as exercise, could also have contributed to the study results, in addition to eating a diet with more leafy greens.
But he said that generally, healthy habits like eating plenty of vegetables and fruits, are likely as good for the brain as they are for the rest of the body.
“I like to say, ‘what’s good for your heart is good for your brain,’” said Dr. Leverenz. “We know that vegetables and vegetarian-type diets are good for your heart and are likely good for your brain.”